A dynamic young Egyptian firm has won an $11,000 innovation prize for an off-grid, solar-powered water pump. Judges of the first HCT-Wharton Innovation Tournament held last week in Abu Dhabi were impressed by KarmSolar because their design could easily have a high impact on great numbers of people, reduce dependency on diesel, and it would be quick to roll out.
Which is exactly what the firm hopes to do with their prize money: commercialize the pump as soon as possible in order to provide highly efficient off-grid irrigation to agricultural farms in rural Egypt.
KarmSolar’s solar-powered water pump can pump groundwater even in remote regions that lack access to the electricity grid – a boon for Egypt given widespread energy shortages. But this design also reduces reliance on diesel fuel that is both expensive and environmentally-destructive.
“We believe our project will help modernize the agriculture sector and support a sustainable increase in food production by providing agriculture farms with an affordable and efficient solar energy solution,” said KarmSolar CEO Ahmed Zahran.
The firm lists the following six advantages of using their off-grid pumping solution:
- Designed as a standalone solar pumping system allowing for easy replication & scalability;
- Lifetime of the solar pumping system is 25 years;
- No price exposure risk;
- Instantaneous solar energy management services & support;
- Minimal long-term recurring costs;
- Environmentally friendly.
After decades of oppression, a nascent Egypt has woken up with surprising zeal. Similar initiatives that put power back in the hands of the people include the eZra3 remote-farming project and Schaduf – an urban micro farming initiative launched by the Hosny brothers in Cairo.
A privately owned company established in Oct 2011, KarmSolar concentrates on developing solar energy solutions for the Middle East and North Africa, although their aim is not merely altruistic. Their goal is to make solar applications commercially viable, which is exactly what we need.
:: Solar Server
More on Cleantech Initiatives in the MENA Region: